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Jackie Butler
and his Playmates

Jackie Butler and His Playmates were one of the younger generation of hillbilly performers back in 1953 or so. Jackie Butler himself was only 13 years old. But he and the band had two rgular programs each week over WRRZ out of Clinton, South Carolina. One was from 11:15 to 11:30 on Saturday and another from 2:00 to 2:15 on Sundays. Jackie would sell the commercials, collected, rehearsed, emceed the show and played what they called "hot" Spanish guitar.

The group not only had their own radio programs, but were also recording artists, recording for the Decoy label. Around 1953, their latest release was:

  • The Wrong Number
  • A Bonnet Full of Golden Memories

Jackie was quite a veteran entertainer even at the age of 13 for he had started out when he was seven years old. In 1951, he won the $100 first prize in the North Carolina Annual HIllbilly Contest and even made a couple guest appearances over WLAC in Nashville, Tennessee.

How did Jackie Butler and His Playmates get started? Where there's a will, there's a way. It seems that in the summer of 1953, Jackie decided he wanted to start his own Saturday night jamboree. So he built a stage in the driveway of his home, which just happened to be located next to a drive-in juke joint. And from that beginning, began to attract a fair amount of attention. A few of his friends got into things by getting their own instruments and joining him. As they got better, a group of local business folks decided to sponsor them and they began to play over the local radio station.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group members included:

  • Jackie Butler, 13 years old, guitar, vocals
  • Wade hargrove, age 12, steel guitar
  • pam Luter, age 10, tenor guitar and ballads
  • "Snodgrass" Carter, age 12, washboard and comedy
  • Ciana Dawn, age 8, ukuele and novelty songs

Credits & Sources

  • Cowboy Songs No.28; September 1953, American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT.

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